Can A Narcissist Change?
I’m sitting here in my basement on one of the last cold days of spring here in Colorado and all I can think about is how I miss sex with HIM who turned out to be a narcissist. Sure, I have other things to do like learn marketing, be pitched to by yet another 6-figure coach, and figure out how to change my station in life to match my intelligence. But, I can’t get our time together out of my mind.
It started in a conference room in Arizona at something called “The Event”. After three days of being blasted by club music and being inculcated with information on how to go from nothing to millions, I had enough. When I get fed up, the comic in me takes over. So, once the event had ended I was talking to people who had also attended it and said, “Did you notice they actually put Kool-aid in the back of the room, everyone started to dress the same, and we all were pitched a big-buy-in program?” That’s when he walked up.
We had somehow connected through my Facebook Messenger app earlier in the day and I asked if he wanted to meet me. He said, “Sure.” And I text back, “Look for the girl in the black hat.” Sure enough, he found me.
The first thing he said was, “Wow you are really animated.” I forget what I said back. But he responded with “We should hang out sometime.” Days before I met him I had this odd pull to want to go to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. So, I said, “Totally, we should go to Griffith Observatory together.” He shot back, “That is one of my favorite places.” The sparks flew.
I went back home to Colorado and he went back to California. We chatted back and forth over messenger for a few days.
Then he said something to me that shifted everything. “I have something crazy to ask. Let me love you in a way that feels good to you.” I live in a magical world so I didn’t question his request. I went along with it. (Love bombing).
Before I go into what happened in the early honeymoon period, I want to say that on the 7th month of knowing that he exists, those first three months together keep me missing him way beyond what any rational person should.
Simply put, I had the time of my life. It wasn’t opulent. However it was everything romantic movies are made of.
Two weeks after we started talking I booked a trip to San Diego so I could go to Mexico and get dentistry work done. Once I arrived and got that taken care of I stayed with a friend for a few days before he and I met up for the second time. He drove down from Los Angeles on a Friday to pick me up.
Without going into all the details, let me just say the physical connection was epic. I mean, we had been having phone sex for a bit, engaged in deep conversations, and laughed about nothing. But, when I was finally able to kiss him, it was magic. In fact, I had said, “We don’t have the container to have sex when I come to see you.” I felt something for him and was trying to set some boundaries to protect us.
So, on the drive from San Diego to his place, we played music to fill in the awkward gaps that happen when you are first meeting someone you hope will be your everything. We were both playing it pretty cool while holding hands and bantering back and forth.
Once we got to his place, we made plans to go to the Observatory. A lot of intimacy was shared in a very short 48 hour period. But, we didn’t have sex. He held that boundary, which made me fall in love with him more.
In another blog, I could write about all the romantic moments we had. But, in this blog, I want to say, that things went to shit after month 3. Things got exposed that launched us into a seven week fight. Then his ex got involved. Gaslighting behavior manifested and after our final conversation where he shared, “I’m going to a movie with my ex this weekend and then he took her to a place I introduced him to.” I had enough. It just hurt too much.
I want to share that I did put up a good fight. I referenced everything from The Course In Miracles to the pillars of relationship psychology. He just shut down more. So, a few days after our last phone interaction, I did what any writer might do. I put pen to paper, let out my feelings and sent him two different letters in the mail.
In the first letter I talked about how painful it was to witness him go from my lover to pure evil.
I included this poem in the letter:
Apathy is a warm gun.
Such is the course of nature:
It’s only a matter of time before your defenses turn on you. Apathy is a weapon that will destroy all that you hold dear. You are constructing a cage of despair. And then the morning will come when you go to the mirror to shave your face & see all you resented in your father looking back to you.
It wasn’t my body you were after; it was the truth housed inside it. You are in the company of thieves & liars. The bankrupt souls seeking significance. Double down on all your spiritual actions…they are facile without truth.
Such is the course of nature.
You will die & be reborn. It’s inevitable. I’m on the horizon banging the drum of Freedom & courage. It’s my fire of aliveness that drew you in & terrified you. Pushed into the deepest ends. The joker is no companion.
Such is the course
She won’t love you but rather use you as an vehicle of escape & you will do the same, never feeling peace. TRUTH is brutal when it’s denied. But eventually you will realize it’s the only way.
So what did I impart?
The start of your destruction with apathy as your weapon. DIE this time.
And I’ll be on the horizon banging the drum of freedom & love.
I’ll meet you at the resurrection.
I was trying to get to him in meaningful way.
Letters tend to take a long time to get from Boulder Colorado to Los Angeles–about ten days. And three days after I sent the letter going over how I hoped he could break the cycle of abuse, I sent a second letter outlining how I believed his behavior was due to a form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
As an aside, NPD is very rare in its fullest expression. However, with most personality disorders we can fall somewhere on the spectrum. And Empaths–the feelers–tend to get pulled in by and sympathize with narcissists.
Beyond my training as a counselor, I have also read at least twenty articles describing narcissism. It’s nasty. I know that when interacting with HIM, I started to feel crazy. He knew how to go after the structure of what I was saying in a way that diverted away from the content of what was being expressed. In some ways, there was merit in what was he was pointing out to me about getting out of my head and into my heart among other insights. However, when it came down to the simple ask of “Do you want to be in a spiritual partnership with me?” he returned with “I have no information for you on that.”
I still talked to him for two weeks after that. I even had a conversation with his ex, who was determined they were going to get back together (and they did). It was a dramatic mess that pulled me out of the life I was avoiding in Colorado.
I loved flying out to LA and escaping into the fantasy we constructed together.
Even as I write this I have to admit that knowing what I know now, it is still a battle to focus on my own life. I keep reading articles on the characteristics of an Empath. I am fascinated by what causes narcissism and if it can be healed. Let me just say addiction to this pattern takes time to recover from.
My motivation for learning these things has always been and will be two-fold. First, I need to get a foundation under me because, let’s be real, after being with an amazing lover who is also wicked intelligent, something like narcissism seems like a riddle to be solved so that I can have all the magic again. Second, I know that others are most likely going through a similar struggle and we heal by telling the truth.
I always joke that my work is field tested.
The real plot twist is that I learned more about myself in the short time we spent together than in any other short relationship I’ve had. Somehow, this time, this relationship pushed me deeper into truth. I invested hours in reading about every topic related to toxic relationships. I began meditating and taking salt baths. I kinda went to the gym. But, I mostly slept more, and made sure to take action on things only when I was focused. I had to force myself to be patient. However, it also f**ked up my ability to make money and stay on a healthy schedule. A lot time was spent casting clearing spells, reading tarot cards, and spending finances on counseling. I’m devoted to growth, so I grew from it but it was really hard forgiving myself for dating an abusive person. Especially since I am a counselor.
As much as I was hoping that the letters would inspire him to reach out to me and to re-create our magic together, as of today, they didn’t. What I asked for in the second letter is that he get a home ready for us in the fall so that I could move in with him and direct my efforts towards giving my gifts as a Psychic Medium and Breakup Specialist to the LA entertainment industry. It’s not logical.
It is like coming off a powerful drug.
I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “You are a counselor, you should know better.” I’ll tell you what I do known, he wasn’t an accident. We did have magic together–albeit brief. Do I think being with a narcissist is okay? F**K NO IT’S NOT.
That disorder sucks the life of anyone who interacts with it. It’s like a evil demon succubus. However, as a counselor, I do know that people can change if they want to. (He didn’t. He just went back to his “old supply“).
One of the things I learned from being with him, besides earth-shaking art-making sex, is that people don’t like to be told what to do, who they are, or how to be. No one wants to be labeled as “sick” even if that is the first step in getting well.
So, can a narcissist change?
As it turns out, the answer is No. If you confront someone who displays narcissistic defenses and point out “Dude, I think you have some deep wounding and are using narcissism as a coping mechanism”, they will shoot back with, “I think you are are the narcissist and I hope you get help.” At least that’s what I experienced.
So here is the moral of the story:
It doesn’t matter how smart you are or even if you see the red flags. Narcissism is an STD (spiritually transmitted disease). The energy of shame is toxic to everyone who gets involved with it. Further, the behaviors used to defend against shame tend to perpetuate it in others. Caring for a “Narcy” is like pouring water into a bathtub with no plug. It can never be filled even when you pour more faster (again, from experience).
The aftermath of loving someone locked in a shame loop and defended against it is that we then feel embarrassed. “How could I have been so blind?” Let me put this in first person. I chose to participate in the love bombing phase because it felt good but I knew something was “off” the whole time. And I got hooked. I came in thirsty and left parched.
The reality is I have my own healing to do and my own dreams to fulfill. I have to remind myself that, “He is not healthy for me.” No narcissist is. But what dating a Narcy does is it makes you open your own attic and look at the skeletons in there. The things we neglect become our monsters. Also, the things we won’t look at in us become something that can be exploited by Narcies. So, it’s really important to work with a good coach or therapist after “escaping” this type of romance so that you can anchor back into your inner authority.
As I said before, I have spent endless hours reading up on this topic. So, I will leave you with this:
You are not bad or wrong if you are narcissistic but it does make you dangerous to be around. You are not bad or wrong for dating a narcissist or abuser and wanting them to change. It just means there is deeper healing to be done. And, we can heal. We can move forward. We can have healthy relationships based on boundaries that get created from now being able to identify love bombing, diminishment, mis-direction, projection, blame, shame, neglect, verbal abuse and other venom that comes from Camp Narcy.
Simply, it’s up to us to be the change we want to see.